A CUT ABOVE
Hunters flock to Lee Wild Game Processing.
WRITTEN BY HEIDI BETHEL
PHOTO BY CHRIS HOLLOMAN
Cathryn Lee always has been an avid hunter. Her fondness for the sport led her to butchery, where she’s spent the last 35 years working in meat departments and perfecting her trade. When she’s not at Whole Foods Market as meat department team leader, she’s busy as co-owner and butcher at her own business, Lee Wild Game Processing.
For many years, Cathryn and her husband, Ron, sent their animals to others to be butchered after their big hunts. In 2011, they decided to give opening their own shop a shot.
“We found that the meat we were sending to people wasn’t coming back the way we wanted it cut or to my standards as a commercial butcher,” Cathryn says.
Steaks and service
Fast forward to today and Cathryn is running a successful wild-game processing business, in which she takes many of the practices she’s learned at Whole Foods to help area hunters break down their meat. There are a few aspects she’s had to master along the way.
“A lot of meat cutters or butchers don’t know how to work with whole animals,” she says. “You have to take it all the way from the bone and cut it down into pieces like steaks and such. It can be tricky, and many people who don’t know what they are doing miss out on great cuts.
“A guy can go out and shoot an animal, bring it home, and not get everything out of the animal that he rightfully should,” she continues. “You can cut a piece of meat the wrong way and have it be the toughest, worst-tasting thing you’ve ever had. If you do it professionally, it will be the best.”
In addition to quality cuts, Lee Wild Game Processing also makes salami, game sticks, and sausage. Cathryn says her customers rave about these products and suggests that those looking to have their animals professionally processed ask fellow hunters whom they recommend. It will likely be Cathryn’s shop, and, if so, she always is eager to cut, double wrap, and freeze any of the game that comes her way. Just remember to present the tag when you drop off your game.
For details, email Leewildgame@charter.net or call 775-622-4667.
Heidi Bethel recently started her own business, Bethel Communication and Events, and she knows what it means to have a passion for something and want to provide the best possible service. As a former member of Future Farmers of America, she also knows a thing or two about the importance of good cuts of meat.